Ankara chairs and the business of ‘protocol machismo’

by Rashmee

Posted on April 8, 2021


/IT’S THE BUSINESS Heard the one about European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and European Council president Charles Michel’s visit with Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara? The men got the best seats. Mr Erdogan and Mr Michel took chairs side by side with the Turkish and EU flags behind them. As for … Continue reading “Ankara chairs and the business of ‘protocol machismo’”

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Democracy doesn’t have to be Western-style, nor the development template

by Rashmee

Posted on September 19, 2020


Veteran foreign policywallah Kishore Mahbubani once wrote a piece for The New York Times titled ‘How Strongmen Co-opted Democracy’. He should know. Mr Mahbubani was, from 2004 to 2017, dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (National University of Singapore). His country knows all about strongmen. That’s not to be snarky, just … Continue reading “Democracy doesn’t have to be Western-style, nor the development template”

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Is democracy really dying a slow, agonising death?

by Rashmee

Posted on November 25, 2019


It’s fashionable these days for commentators to lament the lingering death of democracy. It’s being strangled long and slow, so the narrative goes. How? By neutering democratic checks and balances – a judicious distance between governing party and the state. By packing the courts or preventing them from exercising judicial independence. By preventing the opposition … Continue reading “Is democracy really dying a slow, agonising death?”

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Why politicians around the world are getting on the radical love train

by Rashmee

Posted on July 3, 2019 / The National


Populism of the most hateful sort has had a baleful presence in the headlines for the past two years, but now a very different political perspective is challenging it, without animus. It’s called “radical love” and had its first electoral win on June 23, when Ekrem Imamoglu was elected mayor of Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city. … Continue reading “Why politicians around the world are getting on the radical love train”

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Turkey’s state of permanent crisis serves Erdogan

by Rashmee

Posted on January 20, 2019 / The Arab Weekly


Nearly three years after the failed coup that triggered a massive crackdown in Turkey, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government is still hunting down those it deems dangerous to the country. Just days ago, there were 192 arrests across Turkey, adding to the numbers imprisoned, sacked or suspended from their jobs. An estimated 77,000 people … Continue reading “Turkey’s state of permanent crisis serves Erdogan”

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Message of Syria withdrawal: You can trust America to let you down

by Rashmee

Posted on December 21, 2018 / The Arab Weekly


Those who now express outrage, shock and complete surprise at Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from Syria evidently missed the BBC’s “Hard Talk programme of December 16. Three days before Trump’s tweeted announcement on Syria, the BBC television and radio programme featured Gulnur Aybet, senior foreign policy adviser to Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip … Continue reading “Message of Syria withdrawal: You can trust America to let you down”

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Khashoggi affair gives Turkey’s elected sultan a PR boost – sort of

by Rashmee

Posted on October 25, 2018


The Jamal Khashoggi case has cast a mildly flattering light on Turkey’s acerbic, authoritarian president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. For the first time in years, Mr Erdogan is being listened to by the world with sincere interest rather than sour suspicion. This, because Mr Erdogan presents a contrast to the Saudis. Anyone would. There can be … Continue reading “Khashoggi affair gives Turkey’s elected sultan a PR boost – sort of”

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Turkey’s Erdogan loves the Palestinians & some of them love him back

by Rashmee

Posted on September 25, 2018


Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan is quite the rock star in east Jerusalem. There, as Bloomberg reports, “Muslim worshipers raise his picture at Friday prayers, restaurants display the Turkish flag on their walls…” Mr Erdogan has done quite a bit for east Jerusalem. Building maintenance. Handouts to the poor. Honest indignation at the plight of … Continue reading “Turkey’s Erdogan loves the Palestinians & some of them love him back”

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When did the West lose Turkey?

by Rashmee

Posted on September 7, 2018


Today is a good day to talk about Turkey, whose president meets his Iranian and Russian counterparts in Iran (September 7, Friday). For starters, let’s consider the state of US-Turkey relations. The US currently has a trade spat with China and Turkey but only one of them conducted talks. Guess which one? (Hint: It wasn’t Turkey). Indeed, … Continue reading “When did the West lose Turkey?”

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Will Turkey literally become unaffordable under Erdogan, its new sultan?

by Rashmee

Posted on July 20, 2018


Will Turkey literally become unaffordable under Erdogan, its new sultan? It looks like it. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has massive executive powers and has chosen to exercise them as follows: ** he appointed his inexperienced son-in-law, Berat Albayrak, finance and treasury minister and dispensed with the services of ex-Merrill Lynch chief economist Mehmet Şimşek, the … Continue reading “Will Turkey literally become unaffordable under Erdogan, its new sultan?”

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Rashmee has lived and worked in several countries in the past decade, including Afghanistan, India, Haiti, Tunisia, the UAE, US and UK